Virtually every phone, computer, laptop and tablet in the world is at risk of being hacked after researchers found vulnerabilities in two major brands of microprocessor.
The bugs, known as Meltdown and Spectre, were first revealed by Google and other security researchers on Wednesday.
Meltdown affects only Intel, and lets hackers bypass the hardware barrier and potentially read sensitive information or steal passwords. The second, called Spectre, affects chips from Intel, AMD and ARM (laptops, desktop computers, smartphones, tablets and internet servers alike) and lets hackers potentially trick applications into giving up secret information.
Almost every modern computer and smart device is therefore vulnerable to being hacked.
Large tech companies like Android, Google and Microsoft have since released statements about the vulnerability. Apple has also confirmed that almost all of its products are affected by the major Intel bug.
The company said in a statement released on its website: "Security researchers have recently uncovered security issues known by two names, Meltdown and Spectre. These issues apply to all modern processors and affect nearly all computing devices and operating systems. All Mac systems and iOS devices are affected, but there are no known exploits impacting customers at this time. Since exploiting many of these issues requires a malicious app to be loaded on your Mac or iOS device, we recommend downloading software only from trusted sources such as the App Store."
Both Intel and ARM have vowed to fix the two catastrophic bugs, with Intel revealing that it is working on an update which will ‘render those systems immune from both exploits’.
In a blog post, Google outlined what customers needed to do saying: "This document lists affected Google products and their current status of mitigation against CPU speculative execution attack methods. The issue has been mitigated in many Google products (or wasn’t an issue in the first place). In some instances users and customers may need to take additional steps to ensure they’re using a protected version of a product, as detailed below. This list and a product’s status may change as new developments warrant."
In short, make sure your phone or computer is up to date, and don't download any software that you don't trust. Here's to hoping a simple fix can be achieved before any serious damage is done.